Why start a reactivation flow?

Reactivation campaigns are also known as win-back campaigns, list clean-up campaigns, lifecycle or drip-campaigns. They are all names of campaigns with the same objectives:

  • Activating dormant contact/customers so that they once again start reading and preferably converting your message;
  • Cleaning up your database to give you an up-to-date, high-quality database;
  • To generate a better reputation for your domain, which is GDPR-proof and which avoids incurring costs for contacts who have no link to your brand.

What do you need to start?

  • First decide when you view a contact person as inactive. For example if someone has not opened an email in the past 8 weeks or 6 months, this depends on the frequency of your mailings.
  • Check where you obtain this data.
    You can retrieve the last-open date from the field ‘last_open_date’. This field is not active as standard in every campaign. Read here how to set this field.

What steps do you need to take and why?

1. Decide whether you wish to exclude particular contact persons on the basis of criteria and ask yourself:

    • Are these data available in my Webpower database so I can use them in a filter?
    • Which filters will you use to distinguish between specific contacts. Read more about setting filters in this article.

2. Decide what your flow will look like.

    • Decide the number of emails that make up your reactivation campaign and decide the period between deliveries and group actions.
      Remember: waiting times are very important to ‘briefly interrupt’ the flow. If you send multiple mailings in a flow, without setting waiting times, your contacts may receive an email on two occasions, in very quick succession.
    • Do you wish to delete particular contact persons or move them to other groups during the flow?
    • Do you want to initiate another follow-up action if a person is activated?
      For example send out a thank-you mail or a discount code, or update data fields with active contacts.
    • Non-responders: decide what you will do with non-responders. You could place them in an unsubscribe group, but from a marketing point of view you do not wish to start reducing your outreach prematurely. The choice is yours. Other options could include mailing contacts less often, or sending them other content.

3. At least ensure your emails have the following characteristics:

    • Think up an attractive eye catcher for activating your receivers. For example a high discount, a spectacular launch, special news, etc. Above all think up a good subject line. This will have the biggest impact on the opening percentage and as a consequence on the reactivation of your recipients.
    • A visible, simple unsubscribe link. This will allow uninterested parties to unsubscribe immediately, thereby increasing the quality of your database. Read this article for more inspiration.

What does a reactivation campaign look like?
A reactivation can be structured in several different ways, from very simple through to more complex. Each example depends on a range of variables. The following principles apply to the example flow

  • the reactivation applies to a regular newsletter, which is sent out on a weekly basis, as standard
  • the campaign applies to everyone who receives the newsletter (group ‘subscribers’)
  • inactivity is decided according to the last_open_date
  • the reactivation campaign is sent to everyone who has had no interaction with the newsletter over the past 8 weeks
  • the flow can be structured using the standard functions included in Webpower

For the example below we have assumed the database field last_open_date; this is the most widely used method. For all contacts, this field measures when they last opened emails. For more information about last_open_date or other magic hidden fields, check out this article.

Note: To allow this flow, the last_open_date must have been set in the campaign for a certain length of time; otherwise it is not possible to measure according to this database field.

The start of the flow

The flow starts by giving the name, the objective and the group(s) you wish to use. In the example, we have assumed the group subscribers. You must then select the chosen start option. Here we have chosen the option ‘A specific date in a database field’. The database field used here is Last_open_date. To select all contacts who have not opened an email in the past 2 months, use was made of the option to start the flow 8 weeks after the last_open_date. In other words, anyone who opens emails will never be included in this flow because they do not meet the selection requirements. Only if a person has not opened a mail for 8 weeks will the flow be started for this contact.

The first reactivation
For the first reactivation, we have opted to ask the contact whether he still considers the content interesting. The contact can reply in one of three ways:

  • He shows that he finds the content ‘interesting’ by opening the email, thereby updating the Last_open_date
  • He shows that he considers the content ‘not interesting’ and unsubscribes via the offered unsubscribe function.
  • He issues no reply; the email remains unopened.

Unsubscribing may sound very scary but actually it is to your advantage. Having an active list of recipients is in fact extremely valuable for the deliverability of your emails. Offering a contact an opportunity to unsubscribe for emails if he/she no longer considers them interesting is an excellent way of keeping your list up to date.

The new filtering

You now set a waiting time, for example one week after sending, to give the contacts the opportunity ‘to respond’ to the email. This filter is created by creating a filter in Webpower with the following conditions:

Last_open_Date meets the one-off requirement at least 8 weeks ago.

In this way, all contacts with a Last_open_date of at least 8 weeks ago will be included in the flow. All contacts who do not match this requirement have either opened an email since the first re-activation mail or have unsubscribed.

The second reactivation email
All contacts who have not yet opened the first reactivation email will receive a second reactivation email. This has a different purpose: it offers your contacts a very active opportunity to unsubscribe. Here, too, the contact has three different options.

  • He shows that he finds the content ‘interesting’ by opening the email, thereby updating the Last_open_date
  • He shows that he considers the content ‘not interesting’ and unsubscribes via the offered unsubscribe function.
  • He issues no reply; the email remains unopened.

The second filtering
By creating a new filter, with the same intention as the previous filter, you will once again be able to look at all contacts who did not open the email. By opening the email you are once again an active contact. By unsubscribing, a contact indicates that he no longer wishes to receive emails from you. Everyone who has either not opened the email or unsubscribes is included in this filter. These contacts will be placed in a new group: the group of Newsletter recipients 1x per month. From now on, these contacts will not receive the newsletter every week, but the frequency will be reduced to monthly. This is achieved by only selecting this group once a month, when sending the newsletter. The frequency is reduced in the hope that as a result your contacts will be more interested in the newsletter, because they do not receive it every week.

The final step
The last_open_date will still be recorded for all contacts who are now in the group ‘newsletter recipients 1x per month’. The purpose here is to place contacts who continue to not open the newsletter in a group of inactive contacts. Its advisable to setup a new flow similar to this one, with a starting point of 52 weeks after the last open date. You can then place the contacts in a separate group, which you can exclude from sending your emails. This way you don’t loose the contacts and maybe you can use them later.

This is what the flow then looks like:

Example flow reactivation




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